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View Full Version : Four Thirds lens compatibility - what's your preference?



Ian
25th July 2013, 11:34 AM
As we all know, although it is perfectly feasible to use Four Thirds lenses via an MMF adapter on a Micro Four Thirds camera, most Four Thirds lenses are designed to autofocus with phase-detection focus sensors that are central to contemporary DSLR cameras. This means autofocus is not ideal when Four Thirds lenses are used with Micro Four Thirds cameras, which employ contrast detection to gauge focus automatically.

Olympus has publicly stated that before the end of this year a solution for Four Thirds lens users will be revealed. Apart from that there are no firm details, but several realistic possibilities.

So this is a poll to find out which possible solution you prefer. You can only select one choice.

Thanks,

Ian

T-Lama
25th July 2013, 12:49 PM
I would choose DSLR with optional built-in EVF, that can use both 4/3s and m4/3s lenses. It can be done, but the contruction would be quite complex and thus expensive. If I can't have that, I am going for a (large) m4/3 body with good ergonomy and C-AF at least on E-1 level, or even better with full scene tracking.;)

Sir Otto
25th July 2013, 12:54 PM
Having fairly recently bought into MFT (via OM-D) I chose option 3. I have the Olympus 12-60 and 50-200 SWD lenses which I'd like to use with the OM-D but the focus performance is less than ideal, certainly compared to my E-620. An adaptor which improves that functionality on my OM-D would be of much more interest to me than a new MFT body. Something like an MMF-4 with PDAF built in.

Bikie John
25th July 2013, 01:23 PM
It's hard to pick a good answer here, because as always the devil is in the detail. having both "big" and micro-4/3rds bodies I'm not too fused about which format it is. A good optical viewfinder is nice but the electronic ones are quite good (E-M5) and still improving (E-P5 and VF-4 allegedly) and offer extra functionality.

I think what I'm after is a way to use those wonderful big fast 4/3rds lenses without compromising key aspects of their function - specifically image quality, speed (in light-gathering terms - so don't throw any of the light away in a focussing subsystem), weatherproofing - and hopefully improved AF performance. It would be nice if it could be crammed into an adapter for existing m43 bodies but I suspect that is a tall order.

Because of where we are now you will never please everybody!

Ciao ... John

DNC13
25th July 2013, 02:51 PM
Personally having no m4/3 I would like a new body similar to the E-5 as I think the balance with lens such as 90-250 will be better.

Dan in NC
25th July 2013, 04:25 PM
I would like to see a DSLR with an optical mirror for the high end (E-3/E-5 size is okay with me), and a 43 mirrorless camera that is about the size of a E-5XX for the lower end. I think that these two options for 43 users would be reasonable, given that there have been so many variations on the Pen line.

John Perriment
25th July 2013, 06:54 PM
The NEX style adaptor would be the best solution for me, having already got the E-M5 and being on a budget. However, I voted for option four, "A Micro Four Thirds body with a built-in solution for optimal FT lens AF using adapter" because I feel this is the best solution for the system in the long run and would be a very strong selling point for future cameras. Maybe Olympus could eventually do both, so that existing MFT cameras benefit from
compatability of 4/3 lenses too. Now THAT would be the best solution! :D

benvendetta
26th July 2013, 12:14 PM
Personally having no m4/3 I would like a new body similar to the E-5 as I think the balance with lens such as 90-250 will be better.

I think that the balance would be better with an E-7(?), but how many people have these SHG beasts?
I can't see it happening.

benvendetta
26th July 2013, 12:17 PM
The NEX style adaptor would be the best solution for me, having already got the E-M5 and being on a budget. However, I voted for option four, "A Micro Four Thirds body with a built-in solution for optimal FT lens AF using adapter" because I feel this is the best solution for the system in the long run and would be a very strong selling point for future cameras. Maybe Olympus could eventually do both, so that existing MFT cameras benefit from
compatability of 4/3 lenses too. Now THAT would be the best solution! :D

I cannot see how Oly could implement Option 4 given the two mounts are different.

Ian
26th July 2013, 12:19 PM
I cannot see how Oly could implement Option 4 given the two mounts are different.

The key in the text is 'using adapters' - like the existing MMF series of adapters that allow Four Thirds lenses to be fitted to Micro Four Thirds camera bodies.

Ian

hschnee
26th July 2013, 03:20 PM
The NEX style adaptor would be the best solution for me, having already got the E-M5 and being on a budget. However, I voted for option four, "A Micro Four Thirds body with a built-in solution for optimal FT lens AF using adapter" because I feel this is the best solution for the system in the long run and would be a very strong selling point for future cameras. Maybe Olympus could eventually do both, so that existing MFT cameras benefit from
compatability of 4/3 lenses too. Now THAT would be the best solution! :D

I agree--an integrated solution (option 4) is the best choice in the long term, so it's my choice as well. It obviously wouldn't help with my E-M5, and I may not buy a new camera right away, but I undoubtedly will buy a new camera at some time in the future. I'm convinced that mirrorless is the way all cameras are headed, so a solution that works in-body without the need for an added mirror gets my vote. Remember that there is no law requiring mirrorless cameras to be tiny. It's entirely possible to make an E-5-size body with an MFT mount, for example. And I love the "modular" approach of the E-M5 (small body with larger accessory grips).

I hate the idea of an NEX-style adapter, which is large, expensive, and fragile because of delicate moving parts. A traditional SLR is a nice idea, but I can't see it being a reasonable choice for Olympus because the market is so small. It also does nothing for MFT users who want to use their 4/3 lenses.

- Hal -

David M
26th July 2013, 10:00 PM
Honestly, right at the moment I don't care, my HG and SHG glass is sitting idle these days, I've gone back to manual focus primes. I'm actually considering a couple of Canon bodies to use them on knowing I have my ZD glass if I need zooms.

Clint
28th July 2013, 09:10 PM
This would have been a great question in January 2011. I don’t think there is much that could be said today that would change whatever Olympus has researched, planned, and is implementing.

I divested myself of most of my 4/3 gear so I have zero percent interest in a dSLR replacement for the E-5, a 4/3 mount camera body with an EVF, a new Olympus body costing more than US $1,000.00, or a camera body much larger than the EM-5.

I might consider a Sony NEX style adapter if it has outstanding performance and durability as it would add to the modular nature of the EM-5.

hschnee
29th July 2013, 01:41 AM
Another possibility came to me while on a small hike yesterday. Option 4 is still my choice as the best approach, but here's another that I don't recall hearing mentioned before: a lens motor retrofit.

What if Olympus could create stepper motors (or whatever works best for contrast detection AF systems) that would be drop-in replacements for the motors in the HG and SHG lenses (i.e. they would fit within the physical space and could interface with the focusing mechanism). They could offer a service to replace the original motors with the new motors. The retrofitted lenses probably wouldn't work as well on SLRs, but for people who are switching to MFT, that wouldn't be any problem.

I could see paying, say, $150 for each lens to have the motors replaced. Two or three motor retrofits would cost less than an NEX-style adapter and provide excellent AF performance without any size or weight penalty.

- Hal -

MarkR
12th August 2013, 09:20 PM
My preference is for a proper SLR camera because an optical viewfinder is still the only option for motorsports. Maybe when the EVF's can run at ~4 times the high-speed rate of the E-M5 (but with the quality of the low-speed setting ) I'll be persuaded that an EVF is an all round replacement. Until that time I will use my E3's for motorsports and the E-M5 for everything else.

Incidentally, poor AF speed (of 4/3 lenses on m4/3) is not a problem for me as I use a lot of manual focus lenses so tend to pre-focus anyway (and let's face it, AF speed of the Oly DSLRs was always pretty crap anyway).

Mark

Riley
18th August 2013, 06:00 AM
Conventional DSLR - an update to an existing model like the E-5.

in some ways this would have been the most acceptable to the 43rds community.
It keeps their mount so they arent the second sister to m43rds

A Four Thirds mount camera body with an electronic viewfinder.

for the same reasons this has its attractions, but we couldnt technically get over this without pdAF on sensor,
and an SLT version eats 1/2 stop of light in this the smallest 'SLR' format

A Sony NEX-style smart adapter providing Phase Detect AF for Micro Four Thirds bodies.

The m43rds/43rds adapter at 20mm thick, less 6mm for the electrical mount makes it 14mm, and you still have to provide an electrical mount on the other end and a reflected light path that equals the the registration distance. My investigations to this may have been a little coarse, but it seemed it wouldnt fit within the tighter confines. Remember Sony's A mount and E mount are quite a bit further appart, so allow more room for the geometry to work.

A Micro Four Thirds body with a built-in solution for optimal FT lens AF using adapter.

heres that second sister thing again, but at least we know that to a point it works
Im just not convinced that hanging a $6k lens and 2x on the end of an MMF-x adapter is sensible or safe
it is more likely to be acceptable to those presently operating a 4xx or 5xx body, less likely for Ex or Exx users

None of the above.

I think I have an alternate solution.
This is based on the idea that having big heavy 43rds lenses on a more flimsy narrower m43rds mount is less desirable, and it prevents you from ever leaving the adapter home, or back in the bag instead of where you are shooting.
The camera has the adapter on it all the time no matter the format.
The adapter flange is quite a large 'stable' platform in which to attach lenses.

this is a mirrorless camera with pdAF on sensor and an EVF
it has a mount we will call a flange (F), neither 43rds or m43rds around 70mm in size.
It need not be round but it must provide an electrical connection to the body.
It has a lens mount on either end, m43rds (A) on the shallow side and 43rds (B) on a turret on the other.

Ok so you are configured in m43rds mode and need to change to 43rds.
Take the m43rds lens off the 'A' mount, pop the adapter off the flange 'F', turn it around and pop it back on the camera.
Now the turret for the 43rds 'B' mount is on the outside of the camera ready to accept a 43rds lens.

****** ****** ****** ******

So whats wrong with this?
The 43rds telecentric lenses light path should cope with the slightly narrower opening while traversing the m43rds side of the mount, optically I dont see any issues.
But it depends on having enough space within the body, and that it does not.
The problem is that when in m43rds mode, the 43rds turret has to be able to go into the 'mirrorbox' of the body, but on measuring the inside bay of an m43rds body there is only 6mm from the shutter protection encasement to the outside of the mount, and just 13.2mm from the mount surface to the top of the filter stack (GH2).

There are ways of manipulating that distance using a property known as 'Refractive Index', but essentially the sensor, filter stack, shutter entire, need to sit in a tower that can be within the 43rds side of the adapter when in m43rds mode. That provides the gap where the 43rds side of the adapter can sit inside the body. This in itself isnt a tremendous issue, but it could mean that the hardware parts they are using in m43rds cameras right now, may not fit within the towers allowed dimensions. Also the sensor probably needs to be slung off the front of the ibIS unit rather than within which is as it is.

Now I know at first this seems an expensive way of getting about a more elegant (in operation) solution, so lets work through that.
Sans the flange mount (F) the parts count is the same, it is simply that things are arranged a bit differently, and in different shapes.
Different shapes do not in themselves cost more money, additional parts do.
There would for instance be more parts in an SLR, and it would have less native market exposure.

As the camera cant operate without the flange mount, they would use more material which costs more and weighs more, so it is a body that is more expensive because it comes with the mount whether you use it or not.
The cost/weight of the flange mount (F) are offset by the MMF-x adapter cost/weight.
Add to this, ideally lens changes can be a pain in a concert environment. You are on your feet operating out of a shoulder bag which you have to wear because it isnt safe to put it down.
So ideally you would have an MMF-x adapter for each 43rds lens you would be likely to use for a gig. Whats that, 2 - 3 - 4 MMFx adapters?
Considering on a m43rds body, and it contributes nothing to optical performance, thats definitely expensive.

But it is a body which truly straddles both m43rds and 43rds formats. And as a consequence it appeals to both m43rds and 43rds markets, with the versatility of being either or both.
It needs therefore to be towards the top line of cameras offered as they can better absorb the costs.
For instance one could easily imagine it as a pro-video body in direct competition with the existing markets created by GH2/GH3. Which gives it an 'excuse' to live with the impending impact of cheap FF, which couldn't hope to offer the same optical suite variety or do the same things nearly as well.
And make no mistake folks, competing with cheap FF is the challenge of our time

Ultimately its the scope of the lens range that is the reason to do this, I guess it matters less for those who will never own SHG/HG glass, but this does seem to be the performance gap in the m43rds lens range.
Add to that, eventually pdAF on sensor with m43rds linear drive lenses will behold faster and more accurate focus, and be cheaper to organise than traditional SLR hardware anyway.

crimbo
18th August 2013, 07:28 AM
If rumours are to be believed... the answer is less than a month away....
Will I have a set of bespoke lenses to use on my vintage Olympus bodies [no change there] or a good solid body upgrade path [E-7]....
Let us see what the marketing men at Olympus are going to let us have....